Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. Do you ever feel so distant from God that you believe God doesn't even know who you are? We are told that the Good Shepherd knows all of his sheep. In John 10:14 we are given the words of Jesus, "I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and my sheep know me." When we feel we have drifted away, we can find assurance in those words, "I know my sheep and my sheep know me." How does that make you feel?
We know God. We are his sheep and we can find God by listening for his voice. Sometimes there can be so much noise that it can be difficult, so it may take some effort. But we need to realize that in all the time we are seeking the voice of the Shepherd, the Shepherd is also calling out to us. But you can still feel frustrated and unsure, believing the Shepherd’s voice must not be speaking to you.
Do not despair. It's not impossible to hear the Shepherd's voice. God wouldn't assure us that we'd know his voice if it were impossible to hear his voice.
I love knowing that although God loves us all as part of his flock, his love for each one of us is intentional and personal. I may be the lost sheep in a flock of 100, but God, our Shepherd, will come for me. I mustn't doubt myself so much that I feel unworthy and hide.
Are you hiding? Are you hiding behind feelings of unworthiness or self-doubt? Do you think you are just too busy right now? Or do you think you are too old? Or too tired? Give those feelings to God. I am one who can get overly anxious about getting something done and done well. But I have someone close to me who reminds me that I'm too focused on doing it all by myself and I need to give it to God. I need to be open to God’s voice, to know God's intentions and to trust our Shepherd.
Listen for the voice of the Shepherd. Find that activity (or inactivity) that provides an opening to the Shepherd's voice. Seek out the companionship of others of faith. In their strength, find your focus. Or spend time alone when you can concentrate on listening for God's voice. Listen in the silence and find your focus. And always proceed with expectations that you will hear the Shepherd's voice.
"Listen in the silence. Listen in the noise. Listen for the sound of the Spirit's voice." (Community of Christ Sings, hymn 153)
Author: Bonnie Barber
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Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.